Poorly led weekly leadership team meetings waste two of a CEO’s most precious resources: your time, and your team’s time. They could also be symptomatic of deeper communication issues that may be stalling key tasks from the C-Suite all the way down to the ground floor.
Use these three steps to keep your weekly leadership team meetings on point and your company marching towards BIG.
1. Reevaluate your meeting rhythm.
The most common error that CEOs make with leadership team meetings is they let the conversation get distracted by the day’s hot topic: a success, a failure, a brewing crisis, a tantalizing opportunity, the latest tweet. But there’s a difference between what seems like the most urgent issue right now, and what’s most important for your leadership team to accomplish in this room in the next hour.
A regularly-scheduled leadership team meeting is not a forum for putting out fires or dreaming up the next potential innovation. This meeting is one critical beat in your larger company-wide meeting rhythm. Miss one beat and the rest will lose their tempo too.
You can read more about an effective meeting rhythm here, but briefly, every CEO needs to have these five meetings on the calendar:
Annual: Your “State of the Company” meeting that sets actionable targets for the year ahead.
Quarterly: Planning session with your leadership team to discuss what went right, what went wrong, and how to recalibrate for next quarter.
Monthly: Department meetings in which your leadership team updates their staff on progress towards goals.
Weekly: Leadership team meeting to review progress on key tasks.
Daily: Each leadership team below the C-Suite should have a quick huddle with their management team. Don’t even sit down if you can avoid it.
2. Set a clear agenda.
Our battle-tested blueprint for an effective weekly leadership meeting has four parts:
1) Results. A ten-minute review of the weekly KPI scorecard that tracks the one or two metrics that are most critical to your company’s success. Make sure everyone understands where your numbers are and where they should be.
2) Progress. Give each leader two or three minutes to report on how his or her department is doing in moving these key metrics forward. Don’t let your leaders recite their to-do lists, and don’t let these progress reports turn into 20-minute monologues. You want to hear about how their activities are generating short-term momentum that’s building towards your long-term targets. Every meeting attendee should get in the habit of preparing their progress report ahead of the meeting so that you get through the important info as succinctly as possible.
3) Issues. One of the most important questions CEOs have to ask themselves is, “What can get in the way of what I want?” Keep this part of the meeting moving by acknowledging the issue and then asking the room, “What else?” We’re building an action list here, not solving all of the company’s problems.
4) Discussion. After every leader has raised their issues, one or two pressing concerns might emerge that are directly related to progress on KPIs. It’s the CEO’s responsibility to keep the discussion focused on just those topics. A supply chain issue that might cripple this month’s numbers needs to be talked out. A cool new piece of tech that could streamline your supply chain next year does not.
Sound simple? Good, because the agenda for this meeting should be. Aim for an hour. The less room there is for distractions and tangents, the better you’re all going to feel when you adjourn.
3. Follow up and keep your door open.
My favorite Discussion issues are the ones where a leader shoots his hand in the air and says, “That’s mine, I got it.” When my leaders are claiming ownership on problems and take responsibility to fix them, then I know that I’ve delegated well, and that we’re all focused on the same goals.
But if you’re discussing an issue and everyone is looking around the table at everyone else, that’s a good sign this week’s leadership meeting is over. Get a more granular meeting on the calendar ASAP. Same for any innovative ideas that might be worth exploring down the road, or potential hazards you’re keeping on your radar. Make sure you have a mechanism to follow up on issues that fall outside the purview of the weekly leadership meeting, particularly employee issues, comments, or concerns.
Of course, the most important piece of follow up is … next week’s leadership meeting, where you’ll review, report, and discuss all over again.
Sticking to this agenda and meeting rhythm is how you foster a culture of accountability. And companies that hold themselves accountable for hitting their targets are the ones that get BIG—fast.
About Mark Moses
Mark Moses is the Founding Partner of CEO Coaching International and the Amazon Bestselling author of Make Big Happen. His firm coaches over 190 of the world’s top high-growth entrepreneurs and CEO’s on how to dramatically grow their revenues and profits, implement the most effective strategies, become better leaders, grow their people, build accountability systems, and elevate their own performance. Mark has won Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year award and the Blue Chip Enterprise award for overcoming adversity. His last company ranked #1 Fastest-Growing Company in Los Angeles as well as #10 on the Inc. 500 of fastest growing private companies in the U.S. He has completed 12 full distance Ironman Triathlons including the Hawaii Ironman World Championship 5 times.
About CEO Coaching International
CEO Coaching International works with the world’s top entrepreneurs, CEOs, and companies to dramatically grow their business, develop their people, and elevate their overall performance. Known globally for its success in coaching growth-focused entrepreneurs to meaningful exits, CEO Coaching International has coached more than 500 CEOs and entrepreneurs in more than 25 countries. Every coach at CEO Coaching International is a former CEO or President that has made big happen. The firm’s coaches have led double-digit sales and profit growth in businesses ranging in size from startups to over $1 billion, and many are founders that have led their companies through successful eight and nine figure exits. CEOs and entrepreneurs working with CEO Coaching International for three years or more have experienced an average EBITDA CAGR of 66.4% during their time as a client, more than five times the national average. For more information, please visit: https://www.ceocoachinginternational.com